Some days just finishing is an accomplishment. I had three workouts last week and two of those brought me to nearly total exhaustion.
The first workout consisted of rowing 100m every minute on the minute for 10 minutes. Simple enough. It was my first day back after a week off, and I was happy to have a WOD I could control. In other words, I could take it easy. Which I did. I wasn’t lazy exactly, but just not going all out.
The next two WODs? Not so easy.
The second WOD was brutal. The warm up: 30 53# kb swings, 30 pullups, 30 pushups, 30 squats. I had not used a 53# kettlebell before in a determined way. The most I had ever used in a WOD was 44#. These particular swings were shoulder height (i.e., “Russian”) but it was still hard.
The WOD: 4x 400m run, 60m farmers walk with 50# sandbags in each hand, 20 box jumps at 20 inches. I was tired going into it. After round 1 I was feeling some serious physical stress and getting a bit nervous. As in, I can’t do this. During round 2 I didn’t really remember ever having been anywhere else. The WOD was just about the total of my consciousness.
I lowered the intensity by taking few seconds to get some water. Round 3 was better because I had caught my breath a little. Round 4 was mostly will power. Total time: 19 minutes. I was happy to have finished it. I found some shade inside to fall down into and tried to relax. Laying down didn’t help. So I got a small glass of beer (a plastic cup, proving I am not too proud to beg.) That helped. I’m not sure how much more I could have done, but I was exhausted to the point of being dizzy.
The third WOD was also very simple: a 5K row. The trick (for me at least) was to try and keep good rowing form, keep a steady pace and not stop for anything. It took me 24 minutes and 15 seconds. Not a bad time, considering I had never done a 5K row. Although it was slower then just about everybody else.
But I did not attempt to lower the intensity. I pursued every stroke with as much vigor as I could muster. Occasionally my mind would drift, but I brought myself back to the rowing by focusing on my form and the feel of the tension in the chain. When I got off the rower my legs were wobbly. My lungs felt like they had been inflated to twice their normal size.
I won’t say I got 100% of those two WODs. Probably 95% and 90%. But I think I’m way more disciplined in how I go about the workout then before. I can feel the stress wearing my resolve down, and the voice that says “quit!” gets louder and louder. The resentment builds up. No more! But to keep going is such sweet pain. To get beyond that barrier of “quit!” again, and again, and again — that’s discipline. That is commitment. That is strength.